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Deceit and Other Possibilities


List Price: $16.95

ON SALE: March 10, 2020 | Trade Paperback Original | 5.5 x 8.25, 160 pages | ISBN 9781640093485
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“[A] searing debut.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

Winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature
Finalist for the California Book Award

In her powerful collection, first published in 2016 and now featuring new stories, Vanessa Hua gives voice to immigrant families navigating a new America. Tied to their ancestral and adopted homelands in ways unimaginable in generations past, these memorable characters straddle both worlds but belong to none, veering between dream and disappointment and illustrating the conflict between self and society, tradition and change. With insight and wit, Hua writes about what wounds us and what we must survive. Deceit and Other Possibilities marked the emergence of a remarkable new writer and is now available more broadly.

About Vanessa Hua

VANESSA HUA is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of A River of Stars. She has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award, and a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post. Find out more at


Praise for Deceit And Other Possibilities

Winner, Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature • Finalist, California Book Award

“This searing debut is about immigrants navigating a new America.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“Profoundly moving, and impossible to forget . . . a truly impressive debut.” —Nylon

“The men, women and children in Hua’s moving debut often find themselves straddling the volatile fault lines between desire and shame, decorum and rage . . . She has a deep understanding of the pressure of submerged emotions and polite, face-saving deceptions. The truth comes out, sometimes explosively, sometimes in a quiet act of courage.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“An intriguing collection . . . each of her protagonists is never quite grounded, caught between multiple cultures and countries. Each hides beneath layers of deceit, clinging to lies that enable survival….Hua is a writer to watch.” —Booklist

“Hua writes with sophistication and the punch of the immigrant experience today . . . exuberant stories filled with nuance and fresh detail.” —LitHub

“Exactly what we need to be reading in this country right now, and probably always. If I had to choose one word to describe Hua’s writing style, it would be personable — you actually feel like her narrators are sitting across the sofa from you, popping open the tab of a soda can as they prepare to tell you their story…funny and sad, quick-witted and thought provoking.” —Bustle, the 26 Best Literary Debuts By Women in the Last 5 Years

“A great writer, subversively funny…characters that don’t look anything like ‘model minorities’. . . . readable and human.” —Buzzfeed

“Shrewd . . . hilarious.” —Vice

“These 10 stories follow immigrants to a new America who straddle the uncomfortable line between past and present, allegiances old and new.” —The Millions “Most Anticipated” List

“Rare and generous.” —Bitch Magazine

“Heart-wrenching, implacable….Hua draws the reader in with her power of perception.” —Huffington Post, Book Club Pick of the Week

“There’s little in the way of happy endings. But there is satisfaction in the utility of deceit and destruction, in the characters’ recklessly reclaimed ability to turn up the heat themselves — even if it means they’ll burn.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

“Goes well beyond the buzzwords of identity politics and inflammatory headlines of the day.” —Electric Literature

“The stories Hua presents are remarkably varied—complicating blanket stereotypes about ethnic cultures…Those kinds of subtle contradictions between overlapping identities—and the compromise they require—are what Hua’s stories pinpoint and gracefully unravel.” —East Bay Express

“Wry observations…compelling read.” —Brooklyn Magazine

“Readers will feel hijacked by the lines that follow…Hua shows how immigrant families plead, persuade, adapt, and embrace their heritage.” —San Francisco Magazine

“Gazes through the lens of recent immigrants to examine family relationships in all their beauty and complexity…pointed, memorable tales.” —Stanford Magazine

“Diverse, cosmopolitan.” —The Rumpus

“A wonderful sense of modernity.” —San Jose Mercury News

“Fast-paced, dazzling, smart and fun, Vanessa Hua’s debut collection illustrates the insanities and heartbreaks on both sides of the Pacific.” —Gary Shteyngart, author of Lake Success and Little Failure

“Complicated, cosmopolitan and utterly contemporary . . . these stories will jump right off the page into the reader’s imagination.” —Margot Livesy, author of Mercury and The Flight of Gemma Hardy

“Deceit and Other Stories gives us characters whose lives are constrained and yet also enriched by different borders, cultures, and traditions. A bracing and beautiful debut, full of fire and light.” —Laila Lalami, author of the forthcoming The Other Americans and The Moor’s Account

“Vanessa Hua inhabits in graceful and heartbreaking detail the people of her stories: strivers and betrayers, lovers and the landless, all of them on their way to transcendence in her hands.” —Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here

Praise for A River Of Stars


NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • NPR • Real Simple

Marie ClaireOctober Book Club pick
August LibraryReads Top 10 pick of new releases
Best Books of 2018, NPR
50 Notable Works of Fiction in 2018, Washington Post
The Best Books of 2018, Real Simple
Best Fiction Books 2018, Entropy Magazine
9 Best New Books in August —Harper’s Baazar
5 Great Debut Novels to Get You Through the Summer, Village Voice
The 25 Most- Anticipated Fiction Books in 2018, Bitch Magazine
46 Books by Women of Color to Read in 2018, Electric Literature
33 Books to Get Excited about in 2018, Cosmopolitan Magazine
Top 20 Most Anticipated Book Releases, Squibblereads
Most Anticipated Books of 2018, What She Reads
Buzz Books Emerging Voices
Power Debut Novels, Library Journal
11 Women to Watch, BookPage
30 Best Summer Reads, Elle
Best New Books Coming out in Summer 2018, Southern Living
The 25 Hottest Books of the Summer, Parade
Great Books for Warmer Days, Philadelphia Inquirer
45 Books You’ll Want to Read this Summer, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
20 Books Everyone will Be Talking About this Summer, Mrs Darcy
10 New Books You’ll Want to Devour on the Beach, Thought Catalog
10 Debut Novels You’ll Want to Read Before the Summer is Over, Signature Reads

“A marvel of a first novel” —O, the Oprah Magazine

“The most eye-opening literary adventure of the year…stirring…a spellbinding immersion.” —Entertainment Weekly

“A delightful novel of motherhood and Chinese immigration . . . Hua is a breezy, unfussy storyteller and an astute observer. . . . Without wading into policy debates, Ms Hua dramatises the stories and contributions of immigrants who believe in grand ideals and strive to live up to them.” —The Economist

“In Vanessa Hua’s touching A River of Stars, two polar opposites break out of a home for unwed mothers. Though they are near strangers, their gumption and optimism help them set up a new life in San Francisco.” —Glamour

“Page-turner…powerful look and immigration and identity” —US Weekly

“Unexpected, clever, contemporary.” —NPR

“A rollicking story and a deeply serious consideration of immigration, motherhood, and belonging.” —Wall Street Journal

“A stirring exploration of identity: what it means to be a parent, a lover, a friend.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

“Bristles with timely detail and unexpected pivots, as two desperate women find family and community to support their struggle for freedom.” —BBC

“Vanessa Hua’s story spins with wild fervor, with charming protagonists fiercely motivated by maternal and survival instincts. A River of Stars is a migrant narrative tenderly constructed around Scarlett’s quest to carve a life for her daughter and herself at the risk of deportation.” —USA Today

“This debut novel pulls back the curtain on the phenomenon of ‘Chinese maternity hotels’ in the United States—where pregnant Chinese women await the births of their babies on U.S. soil.” ––Newsday

“Epic. . . . vibrant.” —Esquire

“In Hua’s telling, the modern Chinese immigrant’s tale is not one of a submissive model minority. It’s a tale of the tenderhearted cook, the cunning profiteer, the fierce mother . . . [T]he whole human experience, hiding in plain sight.” —San Francisco Magazine

A River of Stars is a 21st-century immigrant story about the terror, drama, and desperation of being undocumented and yet unable to leave.” —Village Voice 

“The heroines in A River of Stars are strong, resourceful and eager to embrace the values of their adopted countries to overcome desperate circumstances. In highlighting the struggles immigrants face in their home countries, Hua gives a very real face to a population often marginalized by political theorizing and racial clichés. They are not outsiders, but the very embodiment of the American dream.” —Shelf Awareness

“Vanessa Hua’s debut is a vibrant, fascinating look into womanhood and how so many women’s lives are shaped by their relationship to the powerful men within them. Hua infuses this story with spirit and humor . . . remarkable.” —Nylon

“In a time when immigration policy has returned to the center of our national politics, Bay Area author Vanessa Hua delivers a book that explores the motivations, fears, and aspirations that drive people to migrate.” —The Millions

A River of Stars is Hua’s first novel, and its gripping tale of Scarlett Chen, a Chinese boss’s mistress sent to America to birth a child, is as moving as it is entertaining.” —Electric Literature

“Richly textured page-turner.” —South China Morning Post

“A page-turner about immigration, motherhood, and the lengths we’ll go for the lives we want.”—Refinery 29

“Exciting….page-turner.” —San Francisco Examiner

“Alternately heartbreaking and darkly funny . . . a celebration of the perseverance, grit and ingenuity of immigrants.”—PureWow

“Insightful, timely, and culturally resonant novel about motherhood and immigration. It’s the perfect pick for your next book club discussion.” —Hello Giggles

“[A] stellar debut novel.” —Bustle

“Distinctly singular.”—Bomb

“Absorbing.” —New York Magazine’s The Cut “Contemporary and far-reaching…Hua crafts a dynamic and likeable character striving for a fulfilling life.” —America Magazine

“A story of immigration, survival, and love in its many forms”—The Rumpus

“Hua is an amazing writer, her prose tight and packed solid with emotion. She deftly handles several characters’ points-of-view, giving the book a well-rounded feel that never allows any character to become the enemy.” —The Literary Review

“As the world struggles with immigration, this story reminds us of the universality of the longing for a better life.”—Stanford Magazine

“The book tackles many themes—immigration, identity, class, privilege, and parenthood among them—but does so with emotion and a stylish grace.” —Literary Mama

“Looking for a great book? Here’s what Berkeleyans are reading this summer”—Berkeleyside

“Top 10 Debut Novels to Read Before the Summer is Over”—Signature Reads

“You’ll be rooting for Scarlett Chen, the protagonist of Vanessa Hua’s A River of Stars, from page one.…. It’s a page-turner about immigration, motherhood, and the lengths we’ll go for the lives we want.” —Refinery29

A River of Stars splits the ‘Chinese immigrant story’ into a kaleidoscopic spectrum, putting human faces to the many groups—rich and poor, privileged and marginalized, documented and not—who come to America. Vanessa Hua’s debut is an utterly absorbing novel about the ruthless love of parenthood and the universal truth that sometimes family runs deeper than blood alone.”—Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You

“Vanessa Hua’s epic A River of Stars follows a pair of pregnant Chinese immigrant women—two of the more vibrant characters I’ve come across in a while—on the lam from Los Angeles to San Francisco’s Chinatown.”—R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries, in Esquire

“Vanessa Hua illuminates the lives of her characters with energy, verve, and heart. Hua tracks the minutest emotional terrain of these characters while simultaneously interrogating the cultural and economic forces that shape their worlds. This book holds your attention until the very last page.”—Emma Cline, New York Times bestselling author of The Girls

A River of Stars is a page-turner, a riveting story of parenthood, migration, and the choices we make to survive. Fierce and determined, resourceful and resilient, Scarlett Chen is an unforgettable protagonist you can’t help but root for.”—Lisa Ko, author of the National Book Award finalist The Leavers

“Vanessa Hua’s compelling A River of Stars is a story of resistance, survival, and self-determination in a world that is seemingly indifferent to the needs of the poor and disenfranchised.”—Min Jin Lee, author of the National Book Award finalist Pachinko

“Skillful…hilarious…heartbreaking….Hua wonderfully evokes the exigencies of lives at the margins of American culture by revealing Scarlett’s enduring ingenuity” —Publishers Weekly

“Page-turning . . . culturally-adept . . . irresistible”—Library Journal

“Astute . . . confronts identity, privilege, freedom, and a twenty-first-century rendering of the American dream with poignancy, insight, humor, and plenty of savvy charm” —Booklist

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